Intermediate Reading List

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Bible Commentaries

Whole Bible

Henry, Matthew – Commentary on the Bible: Unabridged  Buy

George Whitefield read this 4 times through on his knees.  After dipping into this, you will agree that it is the best commentary on the Bible ever written.

Calvin, John – Commentary on the Bible

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown – Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible  1871  Written by Robert Jamieson (Gen.-Job, Church of Scotland), Andrew Fausset  (Psalms-Malachi, Anglican) and David Brown (N.T., Free Church of Scotland)

Reformed.  Known as the J.F.B. Commentary.  Highly recommended.

***  ‘A really standard work.  We consult it continually, and with growing interest.  Mr. Fausset’s portion strikes us as being of the highest order.’  ‘Of this I have a very high opinion… It is to some extent a compilation and condensation of other men’s thoughts, but it is sufficiently original to claim a place in every minister’s library: indeed it contains so great a variety of information that if a man had no other exposition he would find himself at no great loss if he possessed this and used it diligently.’ – Charles Spurgeon 

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Parts of the Bible

Binnie, William – The Psalms: Their History, Teachings, and Use  Buy  1886, 444 pp.

You will love the psalms more than ever after reading this book!  Here is an easy to read fresh view into the background, history, development and teachings of the Psalms, from the best, uncompromisingly conservative scholarship.  Includes chapters on the Messiah in the Psalms, Personal Religion, and the Imprecatory Psalms (the best on the subject).  It also includes appendices on the development of psalm singing in the OT, its practice in the NT, and also throughout church history.

Binnie was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.

Edersheim, Alfred – The Bible History of the Old Testament  1887

Edersheim’s work abounds with intriguing scholarship mediated through a child-like faith in the O.T.’s profound teachings.  Read it cover to cover!  

Edersheim was converted from Orthodox Judaism by the influence of John Rabbi Duncan and others.  He became a pastor in the Free Church of Scotland, and then entered the ministry of the Anglican Church the second half of his life.  Edersheim was a leading conservative scholar of his day.

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Background to the Bible

Berkhof, Louis – New Testament Introduction  1944  225 pp.

A handy conservative reference for background info on each book of the NT

Berkhof, Louis – Biblical Archaeology  1928  200 pp.

Excellent introduction to a vast topic from a conservative

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Biblical Interpretation

Berkhof, Louis – Principles of Biblical Interpretation  Buy  1950  169 pp.

The classic introduction to Biblical hermeneutics (interpretation of the Bible).  Filled with Biblical references and examples.

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Inspiration of the Bible

Gaussen, Louis – Theopneustia. The Bible: Its Divine Origin and Inspiration Deduced from Internal Evidence and the Testimonies of Nature, History and Science  Buy  1867  422 pp.  It is also here on HTML

This is the best and fullest book on the inspiration of the Bible, being Gaussen’s most well known work.  “Theopneustia” is the Greek word in 2 Tim. 3:16 for “inspired”, or more literally, “God-breathed”.  

One highlight among many is Gaussen responding to the objection against inspiration that the NT writers often misquote the OT.  Gaussen lists and superbly analyzes the dozen or so ways in which the NT writers reference the OT (literally, in paraphrase, summarizing, interpreting, applying, giving the spirit of, combining the teachings of, etc.). 

Alexander, Archibald –  Evidences of the Authenticity, Inspiration, Canonical Authority of the Holy Scriptures  1906  326 pp.  This is a later expanded edition that includes A Brief Outline of the Evidences of the Christian Religion, 1825, and parts of The Canon of the Old and New Testaments Ascertained, 1833.

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Textual Criticism

Kayser, Phillip & Wilbur Pickering – “Has God Indeed Said?”:  The Preservation of the Text of the New Testament  2004, 35 pp.  Kayser wrote the first two sections, Pickering the third section

Kayser is especially helpful in listing out the Biblical verses and presuppositions that factor into, and should guide, Textual Criticism.  He and Pickering also overwhelmingly demonstrate the corruption of the critical texts and the superiority of the Majority Texts.

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Systematic Theology

Calvin, John – Institutes of the Christian Religion, vols. 1, 2, 3  Buy  1559 translated by Henry Beveridge (which is a good translation).  The mid-1900’s McNeill translation is the scholarly standard.

Out of all the systematic theologies that have been written in history, it is the webmaster’s opinion that Calvin’s is still the best and remains THE classic through the centuries.  Other systematics may be more detailed, comprehensive, etc., but you will not find another written with the practical and experiential fervor with which Calvin writes; and this, the heart fully devoted and offered to God through the medium of solid, pure Scriptural truth is something of a greatly higher price than any of the other positive qualities that later systematicians may have contributed, and is rarely found.

Berkhof, Louis – Systematic Theology  Buy  784 pp.  The online edition does not includes Berkhof’s Introduction to the Study of Systematic Theology (which was previously a separate work but intended to be read with his Systematic Theology), whereas the print version linked does.

This is brief, one volume systematic theology has been a standard in seminaries.  It was originally intended to be an abbreviated summary of the thought of Bavinck’s four volume Reformed Dogmatics.  Berkhof excels at surveying doctrines through history, showing the Scriptural support for them, and comparing different views as they have been classically expounded.

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Covenant Theology

Robertson, O. Palmer – The Christ of the Covenants  Buy  1987  320 pp.

This is the modern classic expounding the unfolding of God’s covenants through Scripture, and why Dispensationalism is wrong.

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Christ

Bavinck, Herman – The Divine and Human Natures of Christ  no date or source info

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Holy Spirit

Hodge, Charles – The Nature of Tongues  from his Commentary on 1 Corinthians, 12:10, five paragraphs

Argues for the traditional interpretation that Biblical “tongues” were real, intelligible, foreign languages, not unintelligible babble, contra charismatics and pentecostals.

Buchanan, James

The Holy Spirit Enlightening the Mind  1843  20 pp.  from his The Office and Work of the Holy Spirit

The Office and Work of the Holy Spirit  Buy  1843  519 pp.

A classic, book length exposition of the beloved third person of the Trinity.  This as well as his book on Justification reflect his work as professor of Systematic Theology, following Dr. Thomas Chalmers in that chair in 1847 in the New College of the Free Church. 

Berkhof, Louis – The Assurance of Faith: the Firm Foundation of the Christian Hope  Buy  86 pp.

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Original Sin

Hodge, Charles – Commentary on Rom. 5:12-21  on Adam, Original Sin, Imputation, Christ, Justification, etc.

Alexander, Archibald – The Doctrine of Original Sin as Held by the Church, both Before and After the Reformation  1830  23 pp.  in The Biblical Repertory and Theological Review

Murray, John – The Imputation of Adam’s Sin  Buy  98 pp.

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Atonement

Dabney, Robert – Christ Our Penal Substitute  Buy  11 chapters, 115 pages

A defense of the legal nature of the atonement based in justice for punishing sins, and Christ being a substitute for his people.

 

Regeneration

Hodge, Charles – Regeneration Necessary to Perceive the Beauty and Excellency of Divine Things  Originally entitled, “Regeneration and The New Divinity Trend”, taken from the Princeton Review, 1846.  It is a review of “Regeneration and the Manner of Its Occurrence, A Sermon from John 5:24″ by Samuel H. Cox, D.D., which advocated some common philosophic arguments against the doctrine of monergistic regeneration.  

Hodge refutes the synergistic teaching that the natural man’s decision to trust Christ must come from an indifferent moral disposition and shows that the only reasonable explanation for holy decisions is that they must spring from holy first causes and inclinations.

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Repentance

Colquhoun, John – Evangelical Repentance  Buy  1825  215 pp.

Colquhoun was a minister in the Church of Scotland in the early 1800’s.

Watson, Thomas – The Doctrine of Repentance

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Faith

Colquhoun, John – A View of Saving Faith from Sacred Records   Buy  1824

You will not finding heart-penetrating writing like this amongst modern writers.  Colquhoun was one of Scotland’s best writers, being a minister in the Church of Scotland in the early-1800’s and a follower in the line of the Marrow Men. 

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Justification

Hodge, Charles – Justification  from his Systematic Theology, vol. 3  Buy  21 pages

Buchanan, James – The Doctrine of Justification  Buy  1867  510 pp.

This is the standard classic on the doctrine of justification.  Read it first.  Being a “justified sinner” is a contradiction to a Roman Catholic, it is the highest glory of the gospel to the believer.  For many more reasons why you should read this work, read this review at A Purtian’s Mind.

 

Salvation

Bonar, Horatius – The Everlasting Righteousness, or, How Shall Man be Just with God?  Buy  1873  240 pp.

Perhaps the best book on the Gospel ever written.

Cunningham, William – The Church of the First Two Centuries: the Doctrines of Grace  from his Historical Theology, Ch. 7, 6 paragraphs

Dabney, Robert

The Five Points of Calvinism  Buy   Indexed by each point.

A defense of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints

God’s Indiscriminate Proposals of Mercy, as Related to His Power, Wisdom, and Sincerity  1890  30 pp.  from his Discussions, vol. 1, p. 282

Silversides, David – The Free Offer: Biblical and Reformed  Buy  2005  128 pp.

This is the most extensive work defending the Biblical view of the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel.  It also includes a valuable, extensive anthology of excerpts from historic, reformed writers demonstrating that the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel has always been a regular part of reformed gospel. 

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Arminianism

Girardeau, John – Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism  Buy  1890  584 pp.

Evangelical Arminianism is the popular teaching of the church at large today.  It is often hard to pin down in order to analyze carefully.  Here Girardeau carefully articulates it and contrasts it to the Biblical truths of Election, Reprobation and Justification, which fully exposes the inadequacies of Evangelical Arminianism.  An easy to read book, but in-depth with much meat.  

Hodge, Charles – Arminianism and Grace  1881, 31 pp.

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Growth in Grace

Flavel, John – The Method of Grace in the Holy Spirit’s Applying to the Souls of Men the Eternal Redemption Contrived by the Father and Accomplished by the Son  560 pp.

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Church

Binnie, William – The Church  Buy  1882  188 pp.

An excellent short work on doctrine of the Church.  If the two volumes of Bannerman are too long for you, this is the next best thing.  Both Binnie and Bannerman were of the Free Church of Scotland.

Girardeau, John – The Importance of the Office of Deacon  1881  29 pp.

M’Crie, Thomas – The Unity of the Church: Her Divisions and their Removal, Two Discourses  Buy  1821  174 pp.

This is the go-to classic and best work on Church unity available.  M’Crie looks to and waits upon the Lord to fulfill His scriptural promises that His church should be one.  We are to depend upon God pouring out His Spirit in bringing men to fuller light and convictions of scriptural truth upon which to unite, rather than retreating from the scriptural truth brought to light by previous generations.  

 

Worship

Burroughs, Jeremiah – Gospel Worship, or, the Right Manner of sanctifying the name of God in general, And particularly in these three great ordinances, namely, 1. Hearing the Word. 2. Receiving the Lords Supper, and 3. Prayer  Buy  1647

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Psalm Singing

Fentiman, Travis – Do We Sing Christ’s Name in the Psalter?  2016  54 paragraphs

Fentiman demonstrates conclusively:  Yes.

Williamson, G.I. – The Singing of Psalms in the Worship of God  no date, 58 paragraphs

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Psalter

The Scottish Psalmody  Buy

This is the definitive and best psalter that is currently available, it being the traditional psalter of the Free Church of Scotland.  The text used in the psalter is the same as the Scottish Psalter of 1650.

Most of the 192 tunes this psalter contains (with suggested tunes for each psalm), are the historic tunes that these psalms have been sung to throughout history: from the time of Calvin’s Geneva, to the Huguenots of France, to the Covenanters on the battlefields of Scotland, through the 1800′s in the Free Church of Scotland.  

For assistance in learning these precious tunes, that you will learn to love with familiarity, see this easy-to-use website.  Two or three suggested tunes from The Scottish Psalmody are linked with audio files for each psalm.  Many of the tunes can also be found on this Youtube channel.  All of the tunes are also being planned to be put up on this website.

This is a split-leaf psalter, meaning that the pages are cut into a top-half and a bottom half.  The top has the music and the bottom has the words.  This way you can choose a tune from many, and flip to it, for any given psalm.  For help in using a split leaf psalter, see ‘How to Use a Split-Leaf Psalter’.

If you have trouble acquiring enough copies of The Scottish Psalmody for your family (or twenty copies for when all your friends come over; 200 for your whole church?), contact the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), which may be able to help.

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Baptism

M’Crie, Thomas – Lectures on Christian baptism  1850  230 pp.

Miller, Samuel – Infant Baptism Scriptural and Reasonable, and Baptism by Sprinkling, part 1part 2part 3 & 4  Buy  1835, 163 pp.

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Lord’s Supper

Bruce, Robert – Sermons on the Sacrament  1617

This has been rightly the most influential work on the Lord’s Supper in Scottish Chuch history.  With so much confusion on the efficacy of the Supper today, read here of the classic reformed position.

Willison, John – A Sacramental Directory, or a Treatise Concerning the Sanctification of a Communion Sabbath  d. 1750, 318 pages.  

This work consists of three sections: (1) Containing Directions how to prepare for a Communion Sabbath, (2) Containing Directions for the Right Spending of a Communion Sabbath when it is Come,  (3) Containing Directions Concerning our Behavior After Partaking.  

Winzer, Matthew – The True History of Paedo-Communion  from the Confessional Presbyterian #3 (2007), p. 27-36

Paedo-Communion is the practice of letting young children partake of the Lord’s Supper.

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Musical Instruments in Worship

Girardeau, John – Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church  Buy  1888  208 pp.

The classic and best book length Biblical defense against musical instruments in worship.  This was written at a time when the presbyterian churches were capitulating to Anglican worship practices.  Girardeau was one of the last of the faithful ministers to uphold the old historic reformed view and practice.

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Preparation for the Ministry

Alexander, Archibald – An Address to Candidates for the Ministry: on the Importance of Aiming at Eminent Piety in Making their Preparation for the Sacred Office  1832  20 pp.

Church of Scotland – A Humble Acknowledgement of the Sins of Those Preparing for Ministry  1651

Those preparing for the ministry, try yourselves by this heart searching and convicting piece, and look to Christ for more grace to walk worthily of Him.

Dabney, Robert – What is a Call to the Ministry?  no date or source info

Are you called to the Ministry?  Read this and find out.

Hodge, Charles – On the Necessity of the Knowledge of the Original Languages of the Scriptures  1832  18 pp.

Miller, Samuel – The Importance of a Thorough and Adequate Course of Preparatory Study for the Holy Ministry  1832  37 pp.

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Pastors

Alexander, Archibald – ‘Introduction to Pastoral Reminiscences’  1849  5 pp.

On the heart of a pastor.

Church of Scotland – A Humble Acknowledgment of the Sins of the Ministry of Scotland  1651

Pastors and Elders, let us grieve and break our hearts over our sins in Christ’s ministry.  May this cause us to look to Christ for all of our righteousness, and may it spur us on to walk more humbly and closely with Him as we work in His Vineyard.  Use this in secret prayer throughout the year.  

Church members, bring reformation to our land and humbly encourage your elders with this article.

Hodge, Charles – “He Preached Christ”, Acts 9:20, Sermon Preached… at the Memorial Services… [for] James Waddel Alexander, D.D.  1859  17 pp.

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Preaching

Dabney, Robert

Sacred Rhetoric: A Course of Lectures on Preaching  Buy  1870  361 pp.

A classic textbook on preaching, specifically on how to prepare, build and deliver sermons.

The Public Preaching of Women  1879  32 paragraphs  from the The Southern Presbyterian Review for October 

The argument against women preaching

Beeke, Joel – How to Evaluate Sermons  Buy  48 pp.

Very good help to preachers in evaluating the preaching of their sermons.  Filled with scripture, spirituality and wisdom.

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Creeds

Miller, Samuel – Doctrinal Integrity  Buy  including The Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions (1839  138 pp.) and Adherence to our Doctrinal Standards  (1833, in 3 letters) with a Preface by Kevin Reed, 1989

The classic piece showing the Biblical warrant and necessity for creeds in the church, and the great importance of officers upholding them with their vows. 

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Roman Catholicism

‘A Watchman’ – A History of Popery, Including its Origin, Progress, Doctrines, Practice, Institutions, and Fruits, to the Commencement of the Nineteenth Century  1834  15 pp.  There is an Introductory Essay by Samuel Miller

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Eschatology

Silversides, David – The Antichrist: a Biblical and Confessional View  Buy  2002  20 pp.

This is one of the best short, easy to read explanations and arguments for Historicism, the view of prophecy that the events of the book of Revelation occur throughout Christian history, from the First Coming to the Second Coming.  

Silversides exegetes 2 Thess. 2, 1 John 2:18, and other passages.  He also defends why the doctrine that the Roman Catholic Papcy is the Antichrist is an important part of the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith.  Siversides is a Reformed Presbyterian of Ireland minister.

Steele, David – Notes on the Apocalypse  Buy  1870  336 pp.

This is perhaps the best medium-size historicist commentary on the book of Revelation.  It thoroughly uses scripture to interpret itself, is balanced, is hermeneutically on target, has an easy to discern outline, is brief, is easily consulted, answers all the major questions, and generally gets one in the right ballpark.

While this commentary is excellent and highly recommended, do be aware that Steele was the fountain-head of the ‘Steelites’ who have extreme and dangerous views of ecclesiology and covenanting.  Steele only mentions such views in a few isolated sentences in the book.  This should not detract from the value of the book.

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Hell

Alexander, Archibald – Universalism False and Unscriptural: an Essay on the Duration and Intensity of Future Punishment  1851  104 pp.

Here is an example of Alexander’s polemics against the rising tide of his day that denied the eternity and retributive nature of Hell.

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The Christian Life

Isbell, Sherman – The Temperate Life  2001  23 paragraphs 

“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . temperance.” Gal. 5:22-23  Isbell mines gems from past worthies for insights on how to live a spirit-filled, temperate life.  Highly commended.

Miller, Samuel

Conversation  1835  57 paragraphs, from his Letters on Clerical Manners and Habits

Religious Conversation  1835  37 paragraphs, from his Letters on Clerical Manners and Habits

The Christian Education of Children and Youth  1840  33 pp.  bound with a Report on the Subject of Parochial [church-governed] Schools, by J.J. Janeway, 23 pp.

Guthrie, William – ‘A Sermon on Sympathy’  12 pp.

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Experiential Religion

Alexander, Archibald – Thoughts on Religious Experience  Buy  1844  594 pp.

Gray, Andrew – Loving Christ and Fleeing Temptation   Buy

Gray was one of the young, bright shining lights of the Scottish covenanters.  In reading this you will find out why Joel Beeke has so highly commended it.

Heywood, Oliver – Heart Treasure, or the Furniture of the Soul  1666  420 pp.

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Devotional

Rutherford, Samuel

Letters  Buy

Charles Spurgeon:  ‘…the nearest thing to inspiration which can be found in all the writings of mere men.’

Richard Baxter:  ‘such a book of letters the world never saw the like.’

Communion Sermons  Buy

ed. Harsha, D.A. – The Christian’s Present for All Seasons: Containing Devotional Thoughts of Eminent Divines  Buy  1866  570 pp.

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Prayer

Henry, Matthew – Method for Prayer  Buy  1714  590 pp.

Grow in your closeness to our holy God in prayer immediately.  This is the best book there is in learning how to pray well, with feeling, in scriptural form, balance and appropriateness.  The whole book is composed of extended prayers, using scripture language.  Flip anywhere inside it and start praying.  ‘If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.’  1 Pet. 4:11

Brown, John, of Wamphray – A Pious and Elaborate Treatise concerning Prayer and the Answer of Prayer  Buy  d. 1679  316 pp.

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Self-Examination

Church of Scotland – Causes of the Lord’s Wrath Against Scotland  1651  10 reasons listed and then expounded on

This will break your heart.  It is perhaps the most searching and thorough confession of sin ever confessed by a national church over its land.  Examine your own life before it every year.  May our churches and lands confess our sins before God likewise.  

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  – 2 Chron. 7:14

 

Prayer 

Binnie, William – ‘The Imprecations’  Buy  1886  17 pp.  from his The Psalms, Their History, Teachings and Use, p. 272 ff.

This is hands-down, the best short treatment of the Imprecatory Psalms (psalms that call God’s curses down upon His enemies).  Pure gold.

Brooks, Thomas – The Secret Key to Heaven, or 20 Arguments for Closet Prayer  Buy  d. 1680  240 pp.

Miller, Samuel

Thoughts on Public Prayer  Buy  1849  324 pp.

Helpful practical advice for those who lead in public prayers, especially for ministers.  We should study prayer, not for the purpose of artificiality, but so that we can better articulate our own thoughts and desires, contour our prayers most fittingly to our and other’s circumstances, and to express a greater range and depth of Biblical and godly sentiment.

Letters on the Observance of the Monthly Concert in Prayer  1845  120 pp.

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Evangelism

Boston, Thomas – The Art of Man-Fishing  110 pp.

Kennedy, John – Hyper-Evangelism: Another Gospel, Though a Mighty Power  Buy  1874  with a 6 paragraph introduction by Rev. Sherman Isbell

This is a spiritually insightful critique of the American, revivalist style, D.L Moody crusades that came through Scotland, which emphasized quick external professions of faith to the detriment and exclusion of a substantial, balanced and persevering Christian life.  This is must reading and directly applicable to our day of Fast-Food Christianity.

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Affliction

Burroughs, Jeremiah – The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment  Buy  1649

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The Lord’s Day

Dabney, Robert – The Christian Sabbath: its Nature, Design and Proper Observance  1882  112 pp.  Here is an HTML version.  This book is also in his Discussions, vol. 1, p. 496-550

Kayser, Phillip – Sunday as a First-Day Sabbath  1995  51 pp.

This is the fullest treatment of the change of the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the week.  

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Reformation and Revival

Murray, Iain – Revivals and Revivalism  Buy  1994  480 pp.

This is a modern classic.  Murray shows great discernment and wisdom in his survey and analysis of the American revivals of the 1700’s and 1800’s.

Edwards, Jonathan – A Treatise on Religious Affections  †1758  180 pp.

This was Edwards analysis of, and differentiation between true and false religious experience, comprising a defense of the 1740’s American Great Awakening as a work of God, though it had its spurious excesses. 

Miller, Samuel – Revivals of Religion, Part 1 and 2  1833  44 paragraphs

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The Establishment Principle  (Church-State Relations)

M’Crie, Thomas – Brief View of the Evidence for the Exercise of Civil Authority About Religion  1807, from his Statement of the Difference, chapter 7

This is the best article length defense of the Establishment Principle in church history, that both Church and State have separate jurisdictions on an equal level with each other, under the authority of the Word of God, and that the State has a moral obligation to Christ and God’s Law to profess, protect and promote the true religion.  This article contains all the scriptural evidence and major arguments for the historic reformed view.

Cunningham, William – The Relation Between Church and State  Buy  1851, a lecture, published afterwards in 1863 in his Discussions on Church Principles, 19 long paragraphs

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Scottish Church History

M’Crie, Thomas – The Story of the Scottish Church: from the Reformation [1560] to the Disruption [1843]  Buy  1875  602 pp.

This is the best longer book on Scottish church history that there is.  It includes all the stirring and famous stories that the Scottish church is known for.  Written by an old school presbyterian in vindication of his church and their reformers against revisionist historians.  You will come away with renewed zeal for the cause of God’s truth in our land.

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Historical Theology

Berkhof, Louis – History of Christian Doctrines  Buy  285 pp.

A solid and concise overview of the development of Christian doctrine through history